Be You

I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit this, but when I started blogging, I genuinely thought that I could be the parent of teens equivalent to the Unmumsy Mum. I know. Hilarious! You can all have a good giggle at my expense! Oh, Helen, how much you had to learn. Lesson one is that you have to be quite funny for a start.

Oh, I tried. I really tried. Goodness, the abundance of material of having three teens. The attitude, the drama (boy the drama), the banter, the teen-speak, the attitude (oh, did I already mention that?). But, seriously, a hell of a lot of funny stuff right there for me to pop into some word format of around 500 to make a blog post. And I tried. All my posts had that exasperated parent aspect to them: wafts of fake tan filling the house, doors being slammed, me being a constant source of annoyance. My readers responded. They laughed. They worried even more about the upcoming teen years. There were comments of concern for their smalls. But overall, there was a fondness to the humour. Ever so slightly jesting whilst trying to show my readers (and my children!) that I did, in fact, love them really!

And then one day something changed. The real side of having teenagers started to make an appearance within the house. Their humility, their real need for a mother that wasn’t constantly looking for the funny in everything they did. There was a need for me to be their mum and to stop showcasing their faults. They demanded a respect that I was only more than willing to give. They didn’t ask outright but the comments were made, the behaviour read and the humour stopped. Just Saying Mum started writing from the heart.

I read a long while back, when I first started blogging, that you have to keep writing and writing. Eventually, you will find your voice. I don’t want to say niche here as I’m not sure I want to pop myself into a niche as a such but it suffices to say that when I write now the posts are easier. I’m at ease with what I want to say. There’s no overthinking, no trying to make something sound funny. If I was really honest with myself I probably wasn’t naturally humorous – ouch!

And I’m happier with my blogging now. I’m who I want to be. Entering the world of blogging is very much like being at school. You think you know who you want to be friends with. In with the funny bunch, the cool bunch even if you know it’s not you. You try, probably too hard, to fit in.

This leads me to a lesson I learnt this week from the Head Girl at my daughter’s school. At prize-giving this week, as she gave her final speech to parents and students, she reflected on her 7 years at the school proclaiming that yes she was the smiliest, happiest girl at school. Admitting that she was happy mostly because she was not in with the cool gang. She encouraged the younger students to find their natural friendship group as they too would always be able to smile. Don’t try to be someone you’re not was her message. What a girl. What insight at such a young age. Her huge smile and earnestness will really stay with me. We could all do with staying a little truer to ourselves sometimes don’t you think?

So, I guess what I’m really saying, as I’m not saying there’s a cool group of bloggers versus an uncool but, as a blogger, find your voice, your true voice and stick to it. Don’t try to be the writer you’re not. Writing then becomes easier and your posts a little more you and let’s face it no one else is you so go be you with pride. I’m dedicating this post to Alice (Head Girl) and am happy to admit that at my age I am accepting of the fact that I’m able to learn lessons from those a whole lot younger than me  – just saying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

92 thoughts on “Be You

  1. I started my blog in a similar way, the teen gave me loads of material but 2 years in I wouldn’t say I’ve found my voice, not really. And it’s funny (!) that the rare couple of ‘serious’ posts I’ve done have done a lot better in terms of views – not that it’s all about that but it’s food for thought certainly! How awesome is Alice too?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah how interesting! It’s hard as so much material with teens but I just found that there was an awful lot of serious stuff to write about with teens too! Oh Alice is so awesome. As someone else said we need to start a #BeLikeAlice camapign!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fab post! I think I am so clueless, is there a cool group? I honestly wouldn’t know, I kind of live in my own little world when it comes to blogging, but I love that I can be me and people still come back and read more. The girl you speak of sounds incredible! The earlier we learn that lesson the better!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gorgeous post and I couldn’t agree more with you. Your writing never came across forced to me. Every time I read your posts it’s almost like we are having a coffee and a chat. Sometimes we chat about something funny and sometimes about something more profound. I don’t know if I have found a voice as a blogger but what I do know is that like you I don’t stress over or overthink what I write. I write when I want to and have something to share. It’s not forced and I still love it. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Pat thank you so much for such a wonderful and kind comment. It really does mean a lot. I love the fact that you view it like a coffee and a chat and you’re right – sometimes those chats can be funny and sometimes not so much! Your comment will really stay with me so thank you lovely xx Oh you’ve definitely found your voice and that shows. You’re relaxed and comfortable in how you write – the best way in my view xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I too started my blog being funny (my friends tell me I’m funny so I must be lol!) and after a year I’m still being funny – so I guess that IS my true voice. 😃 I admire bloggers who write longer, more heartfelt posts but that’s just not me. As you know, I don’t just write about teens but midlife in general. This will obviously occasionally include teens as well. You’re actually one of the few bloggers, who writes longer posts, that I follow. That’s because you write well; you’re posts flow easily and they’re not littered with bad grammar, poor spelling and the incorrect use of apostrophe ‘s’!! So, keep on writing in the voice you have found – it suits you well and you do it with aplomb xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh this is such a kind comment! Thank you! Yes, you are truly one of the naturally funny ones and do regularly make me howl! You’ve found your voice for sure. Don’t you go changing xx

      Like

      1. And this is such a kind comment too – thank you so much! I’m not gaining followers at the rate of other more serious bloggers, but I can’t change the whole raison d’etre of my blog. It started life as a paper diary and grew into a blog. I’m aware I actually am a bit of a niche, so it’s going to take me longer to find success, but I’m happy with that. I still get a thrill when I press ‘publish’ and I love reading comments that tell me I made someone laugh out loud. So I must be doing something right. I just need more people to accidentally stumble across it and ultimately enjoy it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really , really love this!! I think at 37 I am only now learning the lessons of your very wise head girl. I was a crazed people pleaser , I couldn’t stand not being liked and would adapt my personality to suit other people. Only recently when I’ve relaxed into who I am and just been me have I noticed actually then you do attract the people who take you as you!!
    ps I’m a big fan of your blog…keep going as you do , there aren’t many out there for those of us with elder ones to identify with!! #postsfromtheheart

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how wonderful that you have finally realised that you will attract the people who like you for you – they are the real friends for sure – trying to teach my children this lesson – not always easy though. Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog – it really does mean a lot xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So wise 🙂 Hopefully that self belief will stay with her throughout her life as well.
    Thank you for this. I also spent my first few blogging years looking at what others were doing and trying to do that in my own way as that was what blogging was like. Then I figured it would be more fun to do my own thing in my own way and not worry about what other people were doing. Blogging is way more fun now

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh she really is such a wonderful girl and deserves the world! I’m so glad you found your natural place in blogging as well – so much more enjoyable instead of trying to be someone you’re not! Thank you for your lovely comment xx

      Like

  7. Brilliant post and thanks for the reminder to be confident in just being ourselves. As a new blogger the pressure to fit in, and worry of people will think can sometime take over and stop my creativity from truly flowing. I’m going to try to just be me, and happily experiment until I find my voice. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much for stopping by and reading! So pleased that you got something from the post. I can not stress enough the effect on creativity if you don’t write with your voice. Also, only write for you and not who you think your audience will be – the audience will come to you of you are authentic xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great post for us as ‘newbie’ bloggers who fell into this world by accident really when deciding on the best way to promote our book. We are learning all the time and trying to find our feet, I felt a bit worried at first not knowing anyone or anything about this world but reading this makes me feel like that was probably a good thing so we did not feel the need to be anything other than who we are. My friend told me ‘I write like I speak’ which is not a particurlarly very good way of writing I suppose but it’s hard to do it any other way than like you say ‘being you’. xx #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the best way to write is write as if you are speaking – it then has a real naturalness to it! What a gift. I’m aspiring to write like that for sure! Thank you for your comment xx

      Like

  9. This is a brilliant post and great advice for a new ish blogger like me. My problem is that I may have found my voice, but I don’t know when to shut it up haha. I have so much I want to say and my posts get way too long! Thanks for a lovely read #postsfromtheheart

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You are so right Helen. I’m on this path at the moment. I just feel as if I’m finding my own voice….I’ve tried rhyme, humour and lists but, for me it has to come from the heart and also you must blog about what you want to…otherwise, what’s the point. Wise words `mrs! Thank you. #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can identify with this. I spent a lot of my younger years worrying about not being one of the cool kids but I’ve grown into my own skin from about the age of 30 onwards. I think a lot of bloggers starting out find a favourite whose voice they want to imitate, whether consciously or unconsciously. It’s about the worst thing you can do, in my opinion. You can never be more than a pale imitation of someone else, but you can always be the best person at expressing your own voice. It’s just having the confidence to go and find that voice and to allow it to grow over time. I don’t see many bloggers whose voice arrives fully formed on day one. Embrace the change and find yourself, always.

    For what it’s worth I think you have a very clear and distinct voice, from the tone and cadence of your writing to the gorgeous photography that forms part of the visualisation of that voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim thank you so much for your comment. I love what you say about not ever being more than a pale imitation of someone else. You have to be you! Thank you for your lovely words about my voice too – very touched. I think age helps too, as you say, and experience, as we obtain a confidence that being young is never quite as easy to achieve and feel more comfortable with. You certainly have found your voice – your singing voice too!

      Like

  12. I really love this. It’s amazing how overtime your writing and blog posts can take a completely different, unexpected but very welcome turn! I am much happier with what and how I write now, I think that also comes with confidence and experience. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  13. AS always with your posts, you speak from the heart and your writing just flows. It’s a joy to read. I find with my blog that I’m telling people stuff that I wouldn’t dare tell my friends in real life because they would think I was a crap mother. Sometimes it can be funny but I don’t intentionally write like that, it just comes out of my head that way. I am the most unfunny person in real life (my kids tell me constantly) so perhaps I am not being true to myself. I don’t know. I just write, and that’s what comes out. You’ve got me thinking now though! Love reading your posts, thank you x
    #TweenTeensBeyond

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is a very beautiful and touching post. I admire the honesty and the depth in this piece just as much as I do the words and wisdom of that Head Girl. If we could all be comfortable in our shoes and being who we are, how much better the world would be. It’s also very eloquent of you to admit that blogging is a place where you have to try and find your own voice. That is so very true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much for your very kind comment. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world indeed. I think most of the students and parents listening to Alice’s speech were inspired xx

      Like

    1. I think everyone gets inspired to write from someone else – like me with the unmumsy mum but it takes a journey of self-exploration to realise that you need to be you! Thank you for your comment x

      Like

  15. This is such a great post! I see so many people trying to do what other people are already doing and it just doesn’t work for them. Being true to yourself is so important and comes across much better through the writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always best to be authentic. It must make for a happier and more content person. I’m forever telling my children to be themselves as anything else will just appear fake. Thank you for your comment xx

      Like

  16. Ah I just love this because I think we all started thinking we’d be the next Unmumsy Mum or Mother Pukka but you’re so right, there’s nothing more important than being yourself, otherwise it just won’t flow and be authentic. I love your style of writing from the heart, and it makes you you. The posts that have been the most read of mine, are just that – those that are completely from the heart. #TweensTeensBeyond

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yes Helen! I agree with the time it takes to find a voice. Just need to keep writing. I flip between rambles and usefulness these days because that’s what I fancy doing. People keep coming back, I find that strange!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lovely post. When I first starting blogging I was wary of giving away any of my own feelings in posts. Over time I’ve opened up a lot more and I think my writing is much better for it. It’s taken me quite a while to find my voice but I think I’m very slowly getting there x

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a lovely honest post and what a fabulous message. I am a great believer in listening to our young people, they can be very wise sometimes (it doesn’t happen often in my house, but on occasion it does). You’re so right about finding your voice. You have to be yourself when you’re writing. I tend to write as I speak, just with less expletives 😉 and it really does make the job in hand a whole lot easier. Anyway, I really enjoyed your post #coolmumclub x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha less expletives – brilliant! Makes the job so much easier as you don’t have to overthink every sentence – quite why it took me so long to realise that I have no idea! Thank you for your comment xx

      Like

  20. We can learn so much from our kids. What a head girl at that school. She is right, we have to stay true to ourselves, don’t we? And searching for that authentic blogging voice is so true – thanks for this beautiful post. #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I often find when I’m writing that if it’s close to my heart my true voice comes out but if I’m trying to pen a ‘filler’ I end up trying to a similar thing, be funny, be smart, be hip! I’ve been blogging for 11 months now and I think I’m slowly finding my writing style. But yes, always good to just be yourself x
    #CoolMumClub

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I think there were a lot of us who thought we would be the next unmumsymum lol. I try to be myself as much as I can whn I write (but with less swearing!). Finding your voice is hard to do.
    #FamilyFun

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You’re so right!! I’m still finding my voice I think – some days I want to attempt to be comical, some days I want to share a cake recipe and some days I want to write about something more serious – and interestingly like your first comment, they are often my most read posts. I have sort of thought to myself there are a few “cool gang” type bloggers, some I’ve tried to interact with, but really I don’t get taken much notice of! I read something else recently about finding your voice/following by being yourself, and as much as I try, I just don’t feel I can ever stand out amongst the vast number of parenting bloggers. I’ll keep plodding for the sake of my handful of readers anyway! Fab post xx #FortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh the blogging world is HUGE. I try to ignore that when I write otherwise it can be suffocating and then my creativity is hugely affected. I write as if no one is going to read it! Well apart from my hubby and maybe one of my children! That helps enormously! I love the way that you say some days we feel funny, some days serious and some days we want to eat cake! It’s a wonderful perspective so thank you for sharing xx

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I do think that the funny bloggers probably have more wide appeal, but my blog is much more on the reflective side, like yours. I realised early on that my funny posts did not perform as well, so I went in the other direction and milked everything so that it was super dramatic. That didn’t really work either! Now, like you say, I’ve stopped trying to “be a blogger” and just started writing from the heart. It’s easier to write like that. Sometimes people “get it” and sometimes they find it doesn’t relate to them or they disagree, but that’s fine. I’ve been true to myself and written with authenticity. And you know I love your blog, lovely! #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh this made me smile. The journey we go on to get to where we should have started in the beginning! I’ve loved the process and it’s probably a wonderful rite of passage for all writers. Aww I’m a huge fan of your blog too my lovely xx

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Beautifully put Helen. I think we can all put pressure on ourselves to be ‘great bloggers’ but in all honesty, it’s just not possible to write for a number of years in a different persona is it? The real you has to shine through eventually… I have no idea what my blog style is, but I do feel as though I have found my rhythm…whatever it may be! I try not to think about it too much, just start to type and hope for the best!
    We all love your blog for everything that it is – just saying x

    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It’s so interesting this blogging journey that we are all on. I love the variety of blogs and personaes that I have come across during my short blogging lifetime. When I started I knew that I would be doing what it says on the tin ie blogging about being a mother of teenagers but that has to be done delicately, using my experiences and those of my teens to inform and guide others, as well as garner opinion on what matters in their lives as teenagers but not at the expense of their privacy or character. I hope I do that anyway. Then there is all the stuff beyond their world that matters to me as a parent and midlifer. In terms of writing sometimes I like what I write sometimes I don’t and sometimes it is easier than others. Your blog is warm and honest Helen and you have a loyal following, I would say you have your niche nailed my lovely. #TweensTeensBeyond

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jo, for your lovely comment. I think the following comes from time and consistency and engagement. I certainly felt more at ease with my readers about a year in. It’s hard writing as a mother of teens isn’t it because we have an inbuilt care to protect our children. Those teen years bring such vulnerability that I would never want to exploit in my writing. You have nailed your voice perfectly and I guess it is a little bit like life when we write – some days are good and some days not so much! Our writing reflects reality – well that’s my angle and I’m sticking to it! xx

      Like

  27. Awwwww I love this… it is so so impotent to find your own voice I think. I have only just started writing more raw and real posts about my personal experiences as at first I thought they would put people off and it wasn’t the image i wanted to portray but I soon learnt that actually people value honesty and real-ness so much more and find it more empowering and supportive to hear ‘real’ stories… love it. #coolmumcliub

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People LOVE honesty! I think it’s very hard to be completely honest though as we put up a little barrier as a defence to criticism I guess. I guess that with more writing confidence grows so you feel more able to really write what you want with less worry of being shouted down! Oh it’s a funny world this blogging one! Thank you for your comment and I look forward to reading one of your more raw posts soon xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so so much… I definitely have put up barriers where my emotions are concerned in the past save being judged… but I have learnt it is healthy and so necessary to let things out… I think my weekly *Musings* will probably be more of a diary of sorts for me from now on! A cathartic process ❤

        Like

  28. Thank you. This really resonated with me. I am not sure I have found my voice yet, I am enjoying blogging but I do find myself at times writing what I think people want to read, rather than what I instinctively want to write. A super reminder. Thank you again. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Wonderful post Helen and the first lesson of writing – which is to find your own voice. You have to try a lot of other’s first though and you have a knack of writing in many different styles with great success. But you are right, you are at your total best when you write from the heart and you often make me cry but I keep coming back for more! xx #TweensTeensBeyond

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s crazy how many posts you write until you feel like you’ve found your voice! Thank you for your lovely comment. I’m still learning. I think anyone who blogs feels that really. Will we ever really become us on the page?! xx

      Like

  30. Oh I love this and I love your writing, I’m so glad you found your voice as I love reading it. I definitely still struggle with finding my writing style at times but I really hope I do find it. Alice sounds like an incredible young woman, I wish I’d thought like that as a teen, I definitely do now though. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

    Liked by 1 person

  31. LOVE this. How amazing and wise does your daughters friend sound? I definitely agree that trying to be someone you’re not just to fit in definitely isn’t the key to happiness. I’m in complete agreement with you, just be yourself and life will be much more enjoyable xx #blogcrush

    Like

  32. I love this, I also (and like many I am sure) started off thinking I would have some replication of The Unmumsymum laughing my way through the bad days. It was only as I carried on writing I started to realise this wasn’t really me. Humour probably wasn’t natural (like you say, OUCH) and I couldn’t bring myself to not say something about the good or the unwavering love for my children to add some kind of balance, which kind of took away from the point in the first place. It took me a long time to realise that actually that is OK because it is not me. I think we’ve all been guilty of writing for others at times and not ourselves. I’ve written a post about how I took a bit of a back step recently and reevaluated my content (and many things) and decided that writing what I want again is what I should be doing (along with many other things lol) I’ve always known this but you know how it is, it gets lost sometimes. In doing so, like you say, it comes easier and I think makes for better reading. Anyway what an incredibly insightful young lady and what a fabulous and mature message to give. #tweensteensandbeyond and thank you of joining at #familyfun

    Like

  33. I have sore fingers from scrolling to the bottom of your comments to leave my own comment! You have such a beautiful voice through your writing and your Instagram feed. I’m so glad you found who you are. You’re also so right about them needing support rather than just the funny. I too have to admit that when I first started blogging I had the intention of being hilarious. I think I’ve found my voice. Sure it’s sometimes funny, but not all the time. X

    Like

  34. Oh, I love this so much. I think as bloggers and in many other respects we’ve all tried to be someone else to fit in. Particular in blogging, I’ve tried to write in someone else’s style, or take photos in a certain way because another blogger has done that. And it just isn’t me. I have a certain style of writing. There are posts that come so easily. The words just tumble out. Because these posts are “me”. They are my heart and my voice. That girl from your daughter’s school sounds wise beyond her years. We should all be ourselves. Because trying to be someone else just isn’t good enough. Hugs Lucy xxxx #PostsFromTheHeart

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you for such a lovely comment on this post. Oh the photos too – yes I’ve tried that and thought why am I doing a flat lay? I’m not a flat lay kind of person! So much better to just be us as it shines through and also we aren’t that bad at being us really! Thank you xx

      Like

  35. Oh Helen this is lovely! I totally agree with you. I used to try and write in a different style – I wanted to be something I wasn’t and I think most bloggers and writers go through this, you have to find your self and your voice. I truly believe that the blogs I write from the heart are the ones I feel the proudest about and the ones that work best. How sweet that your head girl stood up and said that about not being part of the cool crowd. So true.#CoolMumClub xx

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s